HK Implements 'Third Wave' Prevention Measures As Cases Rise

By Joshua Cawthorpe, July 14, 2020

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Hong Kong has announced a new round of strict public health regulations after several days of averaging around 30 new daily COVID-19 cases. Xinhua reported that the Center for Health Protection (CHP) recorded 41 new local infections on Monday alone, with the transmission chain of 20 cases unknown to health authorities. Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), announced in a briefing on Monday night that the following restrictions would be implemented as of Wednesday July 15:

  • The size of permitted gatherings will be reduced to just four people, down from the 50 person limit imposed during the second wave of new cases in March

  • For the next week, restaurants will only be allowed to provide takeout after 6pm and no more than four people can be seated together during daytime hours

  • Twelve types of businesses, including gyms and entertainment venues, must close for seven days

  • Masks are mandatory on public transportation and violators may face fines up to HKD5,000

  • Employees at elderly care facilities, restaurant workers, taxi drivers and workers in other high-risk sectors will be tested for COVID-19

  • Passengers will be required to present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding flights to Hong Kong from high-risk areas

  • The Hong Kong Development and Trade Council (HKDTP) will postpone four major public events

Disneyland Hong Kong, which reopened on June 18, will temporarily close its gates again as a result of the increased pandemic control measures. Among the public events postponed by the HKDTP is the Hong Kong Book Fair, which attracted nearly 1 million people in 2019. 

READ MORE: Hong Kong Disneyland Reopens Tomorrow

Hong Kong received international praise for originally maintaining a relatively low rate of infection among its 7.5 million residents. Although government offices, schools, fitness centers and bars saw temporary closures, restaurants and malls remained largely unaffected in comparison to other cities around the Chinese mainland. An article on Hong Kong’s COVID-19 response by CNBC from July 2 suggested that having experienced the SARS outbreak in 2003, Hong Kong residents acted quickly and diligently to contain the outbreak of COVID-19. However, Dr. Shuk Chuang Shuk-kwan of the CHP stressed that “If people relax their guard, cases will shoot up and we will face a bigger outbreak,” according to South China Morning Post.

[Cover image via @NOWnews今日新闻/Weibo]

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